A senior engineering student who was a building monitor at Seattle Pacific University is being called a hero in the aftermath of a school shooting Thursday that left one dead and three injured.
The student, Jon Meis, 22, of Renton, Washington, hit the shooter, who has been identified by police as Aaron R. Ybarra, 26, with pepper spray as he attempted to reload, the Seattle Times reported. Meis then disarmed the man, diving on top of him and holding him in a chokehold as several other students joined in to help until police arrived.
“There are a number of heroes in this. The people around [the gunman] stepped up,” said Assistant Police Chief Paul McDonagh.
Before he was subdued, Ybarra got off several shots. Police said he was carrying multiple rounds of ammunition as he entered the campus just one week before the end of the school year. The university was on lock-down for several hours, alerting students and staff to stay inside.
A 19-year-old died at Harborview Medical Center. A 20-year-old woman remained in intensive care after a five-hour surgery, hospital spokeswomen Susan Gregg said. A 24-year old man was hospitalized in satisfactory condition after suffering “pellet-type wounds” to his neck and chest.
“But for the great response by the people of Seattle Pacific, this incident might have been much more tragic,” McDonagh said.
Ybarra was booked into the King County jail late Thursday under investigation of murder, according to police, who are still looking for a motive.
“It appears the suspect acted alone,” McDonagh said, noting police were unsure if the suspect had a particular target. Detectives, who late Thursday served a warrant on a house believed connected to Ybarra, are “working as quickly as we can to figure it out,” the police chief said.
About 4,000 students attend the private Christian university near downtown Seattle.